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A Step-By-Step Guide To Writing A Critical Analysis Essay On To Kill A Mockingbird

One of the more common writing assignments students see in high school and in college English courses is he critical analysis essay on Harper Lee’s American classic “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The novel deals with issues of rape and racial inequality in the American Deep South during the 1930s. Writing a critical analysis requires students to analyze and evaluate a given text and provide their opinions on specific components such as themes, characters, etc. and use supporting evidence taken directly from the text. This can seem like a daunting task at first, but the process will be much easier if you follow this step-by-step guide:

Identify the Author’s Intention/Purpose:

There a number of sub-plots in “To Kill a Mockingbird” that could be explored to endless depths. Conduct a close reading of the entire work and come up with one or two themes you think are worth discussing and relate them to your theory of what the author was trying to accomplish.

Research Unfamiliar Ideas or Content:

If you are unfamiliar with specific ideas or content in “To Kill a Mockingbird” then it might be a good idea to do a little background research online. The novel takes place in the 1930s and was written in the 1950s, so you’re not going to know a lot about the social and political climate that existed at the time. Look for information that could fill in a lot of the blanks regarding context.

Develop an Outline and Draft a Thesis:

Now that you have conducted research and have finished your analysis of the text, it’s time create an outline and develop a draft thesis statement. Organize your arguments in a logical order that will make the most sense to your readers. Your thesis needn’t be perfect at this point; it just needs to be clear enough to guide your written drafts.

Write Your First Critical Analysis Essay Draft:

Keep your outline handy and start writing your first draft. This version of your paper needn’t be perfect, so don’t waste time by stopping every few minutes to make corrections to your work. It should be written as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Revise the First Version of Your Paper:

It’s a good idea to start revising your paper after you have set your first draft aside for a few hours. This way you will be able to identify the parts that can be improved by adding, removing, or rearranging content. If you spot mistakes go ahead and make changes, but keep in mind that you will have more time to do this in the next stage.

Edit and Proofread the Entire Content:

The final step is to thoroughly edit and proofread your work. Be sure to edit your sentences so that your language is direct and easy to understand. Don’t use long words when a shorter word will do. Review your paper one more time and make sure you have corrected all grammar, spelling and punctuation mistakes.


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